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Gloucester Rugby's Dan Robson: "Play for Gloucester and you know all about the derby"

By The Citizen  |  Posted: February 26, 2013

  • stalwart: Pete Buxton in the loss to Bath earlier this month

  • belief: Dan Robson wants a derby day victory

  • debut blues: Jimmy Cowan against Bath at Kingsholm last October

  • crush: Sione Kalamafoni against Bath

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Every rival every Gloucester star had growing up, that's who they will face at Bath on Friday night.

Scrum-half Dan Robson tells the Cherry and Whites to channel the foes of childhood into the old enemy.

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THE grinding axes never stop; they only grow, and sharpen.

The grudges start in childhood, then they escalate and intensify.

Victories build pride, defeats heap up despair.

Welcome to the time-honoured battle for the right to brag.

Two titans from opposite ends of the A46, characterised by apposite social stereotyping, will collide on Friday, in all muscle-flexing, sinew-twisting glory.

Neither house of history and tradition would have it any other way.

Each stable will argue this rivalry has no equal, citing wrongs of aeons past.

Dan Robson is not about to disagree.

The accomplished young Gloucester scrum-half relishes the unique, infectious West Country derby fever.

The 20-year-old pledged the newer Cherry and Whites will heed in earnest the history lectures that Kingsholm's stalwart professors like Andy Hazell and Pete Buxton will deliver this week.

But the Stoke-on-Trent born half-back said each individual must bring his own personal derby confrontation to The Recreation Ground table on Friday (kick-off 8pm).

Just as Southlander Jimmy Cowan grew up trying to get one over Otago, or Billy Twelvetrees once dreamt of sinking Northampton Saints, so the homespun Gloucester boys have long since tried to best Bath's aristocrats.

Everyone has their sharpening axe, their growing grudge.

Twice a year Newcastle-under-Lyme School pupil Robson used to leap out of bed with the same single thought: St Joseph's College.

Raise the standard and the intensity follows with it, believes Robson, but wherever, whoever and whatever, he reckons derby desire is the same the world over.

"You play for Gloucester, you know all about the Gloucester-Bath derby, no matter who you are or where you've come from," said the England Under-20s graduate.

"Jimmy's debut for Gloucester was our 16-10 league victory against Bath at Kingsholm back in October, and he was just so up for it.

"He's a competitor, he's up for every game, but there's just something extra about Gloucester-Bath.

"You'll have Andy Hazell in that changing room, screaming everything and going at you, and you can't help but be gripped by that.

"You always have derbies growing up for school or your local club anyway, and it's just a bigger version of that really.

"You know what to expect, and you enjoy it, because that's what rugby's about. Playing in front of a packed crowd, and trying to perform your best.

"I think we were on the wrong side of some of those games against St Joseph's, but we won a couple too.

"You wake up in the morning, and the first thing that comes into your mind is that you're playing St Joseph's.

"You can't wait to get out there, and try to claim those bragging rights.

"It's no different when you play Bath. It's all you think about, all week, when you go to bed or you get up in the morning, or people stop you in the street and tell you you've got to win.

"It's really important for us, simply as another in the long list of league games we really need to win.

"But throw in the derby spice and it just adds that little bit extra."

Just three weeks ago Gloucester suffered their heaviest professional-era Kingsholm defeat to Bath, 32-5 in the LV=Cup.

Forget the Anglo-Welsh Cup sideshow nature, this was full-tilt derby fury.

Victory at The Rec on Friday can cauterise the still weeping wound.

But it can also turn three reasonable weeks into a fine month.

The last-gasp 29-23 victory over Worcester on Friday leaves Gloucester with ten league points from three Premiership clashes – and that despite the 33-29 defeat at Wasps.

Add a triumph in Bath to the 27-11 win at Northampton, and Nigel Davies men will head into a two-week fixture break as credible play-off contenders.

Robson said: "We've targeted this group of four, and we need results away from home.

"It's a huge game for the club, the big local derby.

"And we've got something to prove as well.

"They came here recently and routed us a bit, they put us to the sword.

"And we don't like that, so we've got to go there and put a real fight and test them.

"We've just got to keep putting pressure on other teams.

"We've got to keep the points ticking over.

"If we keep putting other teams under pressure, they will crack, lose games and that will hopefully be our chance."

Gloucester failed to find fluency against Worcester, and were saved by the last-play penalty try after Errie Claassens tripped the likely whitewash-bound Jonny May.

Boss Davies said Gloucester reverted to chaos to clamber out of the mire, but Robson admitted the Kingsholm men cannot expect the tactic to pay off at Bath.

He said: "We needed to get a win, however it came, so it was important to get back to that at home.

"We are slightly disappointed with parts of our game, but you take results how they come.

"It was a bit weird being sat in the changing rooms, it was quite flat in there.

"But that says a lot about the standards we set ourselves, and we will demand more against Bath."

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16 comments

  • Wilson640  |  February 26 2013, 7:00PM

    Harden owns the number 3 shirt. He has no real competition for it.

    Rate   7
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  • richardpenton  |  February 26 2013, 6:58PM

    Nigel Davies picks the team. He has a choice of tight heads, yet, when it comes to the key games, he always goes for Harden. QED.

    Rate   6
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  • walker1105  |  February 26 2013, 6:56PM

    Rupert Harden has 12 starts out of 16 premiership games for Gloucester this season, plus another two. That makes him the top rated tight head at Gloucester in anyone's books (except for the sad troll glawsteruk1/akadau/graybaggs/Kap721 who is pretty clueless about everything, really).

    Rate   7
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  • Steve_Bronko  |  February 26 2013, 6:53PM

    Harden has been having a storming season. It is no wonder he has been selected to start the most games of all the front row forwards. And not just any old games. It has been the key games where you need your best players.

    Rate   7
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  • mattw74  |  February 26 2013, 6:51PM

    Rupert Harden is an utterly brilliant tight head and Nigel Davies knows it, hence 12 out of 16 Premiership starts.

    Rate   7
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  • SimonGray  |  February 26 2013, 6:49PM

    The many named troll glawsteruk1, is a sad only irrelevant old man whose hobby is trolling. He has no idea about rugby whatsoever.

    Rate   7
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  • Conrad_Selby  |  February 26 2013, 6:47PM

    ...And boy has Harden proved him wrong with some absolutely stunning performances as our number 1 tight-head and ND's go to man when there is a tough game to be played.

    Rate   7
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  • JimBatchelor  |  February 26 2013, 6:46PM

    Yep, glawsteruk1 hates Harden because he made certain claims about our first choice tight head, none of which had any basis at the time or since. Harden proved the troll wrong time and time again with his excellent performance on the field.

    Rate   7
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  • stewglos  |  February 26 2013, 6:44PM

    Harden has proved this season why he is the best and top rated tight head at Gloucester. In doing so, he has proved that the multi-identitied glawsteruk1 has no idea when it comes to rugby.

    Rate   7
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  • seanbulling  |  February 26 2013, 6:42PM

    Nigel Davies is the man in the know and he selects Harden to start all the tough and important games. That puts glawsteruk1's knowledge and assertions into perspective. # glawsteruk1cluelesstroll

    Rate   7
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